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 Clarinetists with Asthma
Author: maiohmai 
Date:   2017-12-10 23:25

Quick notes before we go on:
For the past 6 years or so, my embouchure and breath support have gone on a major decline.
At first I thought it was a dystonia, but it turns out to just be chronic muscle fatigue. As far as the breathing issue goes, this happens when I exercise such as run and swim... so it isn't just clarinet.

Now to the topic at hand, I had a major wheezing attack when I was in 4th grade and was told I had asthma. Oddly enough, my mom took me off of the inhaler 6 months after being given since the Pediatrician told me I should be fine.

I'm starting to find that I become light headed quite often when I play (regardless of reed/mouthpiece setup) and my hands get ABNORMALLY cold, although they don't turn blue or purple, pale if anything.

Of course I am not asking for you fellow musicians to diagnose me (or diagnosing myself,) but I am starting to think that asthma, to be more precise, Athletes Asthma could be my lingering issues as far as my breathing support and blood circulation issues.

So my question is to any of you who may have some insight to this, what steps did you take to find out if you had asthma, how are you dealing with it, and what kind of practice/training are you doing to minimize injury? I am currently living away from home and found a hospital that accepts my insurance, I am just not too sure who I should see for my specific inquiries (whether just a family/primary doctor (which I don't have here) or a specialist of some sort.)

On the road to a non-collapsing embouchure!

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 Re: Clarinetists with Asthma
Author: thereallukasj 
Date:   2017-12-14 23:25

Being a clarinetist with asthma is a hidden blessing! After several trips to the ER from not being able to breathe, years later my asthma is still present but definately suppressed. Interestingly, when I started clarinet my exercise induced asthma has been mostly gone for years. I now play the "big boys" (low c contrabass and bass clari) that take TONS of air. Between strengthening my lungs through music and working out, i only see my asthma occasionally when i get sick. Just give it time and keep up the hard work!

Good luck,
Lukas Johnson

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 Re: Clarinetists with Asthma
Author: eac 2017
Date:   2017-12-16 21:07

I would suggest that you see a internist or family physician who could refer you to a specialist is needed. Asthma does not explain the circulation problems or muscle fatigue you describe.

Liz Leckey

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 Re: Clarinetists with Asthma
Author: Tony F 
Date:   2017-12-17 03:43

I'm also an asthmatic. I had asthma as a child, but it vanished at puberty and didn't resurface for the next 50 years or so. Now it has recurred, but with the exception of one severe episode I have it under control. It does affect my playing, but not a great deal. I find that I can no longer play very long phrases in one breath and I have to be a bit more careful with getting as much air as possible.
What your are describing does not much resemble my experience of asthma. I wouldn't expect to see the effects on your embouchure as you describe them. I'm in no way qualified to comment on your symptoms, but they don't resemble mine. Where I live there are asthma clinics, and there are good online resources for asthma sufferers. Check them out and they will probably be able to direct you to your best local resources.

Tony F.

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 Re: Clarinetists with Asthma
Author: D Dow 
Date:   2017-12-22 22:15

lets face it..the pollution is really reaking havoc on all of us. maybe the clarinet needs to be designed for carbon co2 rather than oxygen..any ideas?

David Dow

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